Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Island Where Dreams Come True

"Aye, aye, your Majesty," said the sailors. Several crowded to the port bulwark with ropes and one, leaning far out over the side, held the torch. A wild, white face appeared in the blackness of the water, and then, after some scrambling and pulling, a dozen friendly hands had heaved the stranger on board.

Edmund thought he had never seen a wilder-looking man. Though he did not otherwise look very old, his hair was an untidy mop of white, his face was thin and drawn, and, for clothing, only a few wet rags hung about him. But what one mainly noticed were his eyes, which were so widely opened that he seemed to have no eyelids at all, and stared as if in an agony of pure fear. The moment his feet reached the deck he said:

"Fly! Fly! About with your ship and fly! Row, row, row for your lives away from this accursed shore."

"Compose yourself," said Reepicheep, "and tell us what the danger is. We are not used to flying."

The stranger started horribly at the voice of the Mouse, which he had not noticed before. "Nevertheless you will fly from here," he gasped. "This is the Island where Dreams come true."

"That's the island I've been looking for this long time," said one of the sailors. "I reckoned I'd find I was married to Nancy if we landed here."

"And I'd find Tom alive again," said another.

"Fools!" said the man, stamping his foot with rage. "That is the sort of talk that brought me here, and I'd better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams -dreams, do you understand, come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams."

There was about half a minute's silence and then, with a great clatter of armour, the whole crew were tumbling down the main hatch as quick as they could and flinging themselves on the oars to row as they had never rowed before; and Drinian was swinging round the tiller, and the boatswain was giving out the quickest stroke that had ever been heard at sea. For it had taken everyone just that halfminute to remember certain dreams they had had - dreams that make you afraid of going to sleep again - and to realize what it would mean to land on a country where dreams come true.

Only Reepicheep remained unmoved. "Your Majesty, your Majesty," he said, "are you going to tolerate this mutiny, this poltroonery? This is a panic, this is a rout."

"Row, row," bellowed Caspian. "Pull for all our lives. Is her head right, Drinian? You can say what you like, Reepicheep. There are some things no man can face."

"It is, then, my good fortune not to be a man," replied Reepicheep with a very stiff bow.
~C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, "The Dark Island" (1952)
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On this day:

1899 Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis baptized in St. Mark's, Belfast, by his grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Hamilton, Rector of St. Mark's.

1956 Lewis delivers his last sermon, "A Slip of the Tongue," in the chapel of Magdalene College (Cambridge) at Evensong.

Cool Link of the Day: 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' by John Keats

4 Comment(s):

At Sat Jan 29, 07:44:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

So is Lewis implying that talking mice don't have nightmares?

I forget which site I read this on, but someone made a reference to the scripture: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. ",and how later on in the chapter, Lucy prays and the albatross comes and guides them out of the darkness of the island.

They were making a comparison between being drawn into sin by the promise of "having all your dreams come true", and then realizing too late that the darkness hides unspeakable horrors, and how inescapable that darkness is without prayer and intervention by God.

Thoughts?

 
At Sat Jan 29, 11:17:00 AM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

I think DT is my favorite of the Narnian books. I liked it better than Homer's Odyssey, and the Odyssey is wonderful.

I can see where that person who wrote that essay (I guess it was an essay?) was coming from, and I can't decide whether or not I agree. The passage pretty much speaks for itself.

As for the Reepicheep thing: it is nonsense to think that animals don't have nightmares; I know when my dogs have nightmares, and I knew when my own Reepicheep had nightmares. I think what Lewis was trying to say is that animals don't have the same kind of nightmares as humans do: they don't dream of ambition gone horribly wrong or things like that.

 
At Sat Jan 29, 02:26:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment may be less about 'animals' and more about Reepicheep specifically. He is always presented as utterly dauntless. Perhaps he has the same dreams as the others but he will face them rather than fly.-MrKimi

 
At Sat Jan 29, 10:06:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Thanks, Mr. Kimi. Yes, I think you are right. Reepicheep was never one to back down!

BTW, just had to comment that I love the word "poltroonery".

 

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